The burgeoning popularity of Women’s football was on display in Leasowe earlier today (Wednesday 17 August), as more than 100 Wirral residents took part in an all-female tournament, which also provided an opportunity to showcase employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities to local women and girls.
Organised by Merseyside Police’s Wirral Community Team in partnership with recruitment company Russell Taylor Group, the competition was part of the Leasowe United Community Day. Volunteers from Wirral Council were also on hand to help ensure everything ran safely and smoothly.
Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy, said, “Merseyside Police are committed to working with our partners and communities and Leasowe United is a great example of what can be achieved when working together.
“Initiatives like this that offer our young people an opportunity to bring all their potential to the fore are so important. I hope this inspires them to embrace new challenges and to take the steps to further education or into the world of work.”
Running alongside all the football action was a special ‘Talent Tent’ where advisors from Russell Taylor Group had partnered with local community groups and training providers to inspire girls and young women aged 12 to 16 and encourage them to consider some of the life-changing opportunities as they take their first career steps.
Peter Russell, chairman of Russell Taylor Group, which is acting as main sponsor, said, “As someone who was born in Birkenhead and worked in Moreton for nearly 20 years, I’ve spent all my life helping to guide young people – particularly those who are vulnerable or with special needs – to raise their aspirations and to develop themselves and their careers. So I was really excited when Merseyside Police asked our business and our partners to get involved.
“The event’s aim was to leave a legacy of hope for young women, making it so much more than a sporting event. With this in mind, we set up a support team of coaches, inspirational achievers and employment recruiters to be there on the day with workshops and one-to-one advice for all those who want to kick-start or reshape their careers – to really make a difference to young lives.”
Leasowe United evolved from work by Constables Alison Inman and Claire Ryan, aimed at creating safer communities and greater opportunities for those who live and work locally.
Alison, part of the Wallasey-based local policing team, said, “Today’s tournament proves how much sporting talent there is among local girls – so many role models are out there, particularly now that there’s a huge focus on the Lionesses after their success in the Women’s Euro Championship.
“The Talent Tent has been designed to inspire them by taking part in workshops, introducing them to successful women in business and give them an insight into careers, apprenticeships and development.
“So many life-changing chances are awaiting these young women and our community partnership with Russell Taylor Group will give them confidence to take on new challenges which will hopefully open many doors for them.”
Eight teams took part in the tournament, which saw Bromborough and Eastham Panthers triumph over Oxton Ladies with a win on penalties in the Under 13/14s group. The Under 15/16s group was won by Glenavon Belles (from Prenton) who beat Oxton Ladies 1-0.
The Leader of Wirral Council, Councillor Janette Williamson, said, “As well as providing some brilliant sport, today’s all-female football tournament has helped to build confidence and break down barriers, which I’m sure will help all those taking part to realise their potential both on and off the pitch.
“My congratulations go to the winners and to everyone who took part for making it such a memorable day. Thanks also go to the organisers and all of the staff and volunteers who made the day possible.”
Image: Glenavon Belles – Under 15/16s Group winners